Perpetually known for its undeniable environmental role, olive growing occupies a special position in agriculture and in the economy of Tunisia.
Currently, The olive grove has about 74 million olive trees covering 1.7 million hectares (second rank in the world after Spain), producing 1.5 million hectares with monoculture such as 1.4 million ha of olive oil and 19,000 ha of table olives. The olive grove represents 79% of the total tree area and 34% of arable land
Well adapted to edaphic and climatic conditions in Tunisia, the oil olive tree is cultivated in the entire country from north to south to deepest south and its culture contributes to job creation, providing in accordance with production between 20 and 40 million working days per year.
The table olive tree of the whole number is concentrated in the north of the country with 74%, 14.6% in the Center and 11.4% in the South. These plantations are divided into orchards of small sizes and occupying a small area of about 5%. Tunisia has inherited a rich olive genetic. In addition to the two main oil varieties: Chemleli and Chetoui, several prospecting, identification and characterization works made since the 90s showed that the Tunisian olive germoplasm has a remarkable richness with 140 varieties and local ecotypes: Oueslati, Zalmati, Zarrazi, Chemchali, Jerboui, Fakhari, Toffehi, Chemchéli Zarzis, Djerba Chemléli, Tounsi, Marsaline, Sayali and Jemri.
Tunisian olive oil production is assured by 1702 mills with a theoretical which capacity of olive crushing 44,077 tons per day. In addition, the oil industrial tissu involve 6-pomace oil extraction plants, 4 refineries (which core business is seed oil due to the low demand of the Tunisian consumer of refined olive oil )and 50 units of packaging of edible oils (vegetable oil and olive oil), among them only ten units are specialized in olive oil.
With an national average production of olive oil 170.000 tones, the Tunisian exports is around 120.000T: year represents 25% of the world’s olive oil exportation, making Tunisia the fourth largest olive oil exporter globally.
The EU is Tunisia’s most stable client, with a market share of Tunisian olive oil of 87% for the EU as a whole, 62% for Italy and 25% for Spain.
Contact person: N.Grati Kammoun
SENIOR RESEARCHER, Institute Of Olivier of Sfax
Tel: + 21 674241240
Official website: www.iresa.agrinet.tn